Sharks back on home soil to face in-form Warriors unit

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The Sharks return to PointsBet Stadium after three away encounters on the trot to host the Warriors who have enjoyed an early-season renaissance under new head coach Andrew Webster.

A win may see the Sharks make a leap back up into the top four after a 1-2 start without Nicho Hynes.

Hynes made his return from an offseason calf issue in the side’s last-start win over St. George Illawarra in the local derby, starring in three-try assist performance.

The Warriors, meanwhile, are fresh off a hard-fought, come-from-behind win over Canterbury in Auckland and will be eyeing their first three-game winning streak since the same time last year.

The Sharks make just the one change to the side that overcame the Dragons on Sunday evening with Braydon Trindall replacing Oregon Kaufusi on the interchange after the latter suffered a head knock in the win.


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Skipper Wade Graham is due to return from suspension in Round 6.

The Warriors will welcome back hooker Wayde Egan – who has been in superb form to start the year – after he sat last week out with a head knock.

He replaces Freddy Lussick who drops down to the reserves list whilst Te Maire Martin has been ruled out with a head knock, paving the way for rookie half Ronald Volkman to make his first NRL appearance of the season.

Skipper Tohu Harris has been named despite picking up a knee issue in Round 4 whilst Josh Curran’s surprise demotion to NSW Cup looks set to continue with the 23-year-old named among the reserves.


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The Warriors have had little luck against the Sharks in recent times having lost 10 of their past 12 against them and six of their last seven at PointsBet Stadium.

The Sharks and Warriors met twice last year with Cronulla coming away victorious in both encounters.

In Round 9, the Sharks overcame a 16th-minute William Kennedy send-off to pull off a remarkable 29-10 victory at home before a Sione Katoa hat-trick propelled them to a 38-16 win over the Warriors five weeks later in Redcliffe.

The Warriors have not managed a win from their previous seven trips to Sydney.

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Under Webster, however, they have shown a newfound resolve and spark over the first four weeks of the premiership; they currently lead the NRL in completion rate and line breaks.

The Sharks, on the other hand, lead the premiership in points scored and are second in line breaks, so expect an open, outside back-suiting style of game once the contest opens up.

Former-Shark Shaun Johnson enjoyed a vintage performance on Sunday afternoon, having a hand in two of the side’s three tries and kicking them to victory against an in-form Bulldogs lineup.

The Sharks enter this one as short-priced favourites despite the Warriors coming into it higher on the premiership ladder with bookmakers expecting the Sharks to continue their winning ways at home.


Game & Team Details

Kick-off: Sunday 2 April (4:05pm), PointsBet Stadium

Sharks squad: 1. Kennedy; 2. Katoa; 3. Ramien; 4. Talakai; 5. Mulitalo; 6. Moylan; 7. Hynes; 8. Rudolf; 9. Brailey; 10. Hamlin-Uele; 11. Nikora; 12. Wilton; 13. Finucane (c); 14. McInnes; 15. Hunt; 16. Williams; 17. Trindall; 18. Tracey; 19. Hazelton; 20; Hiroti; 21. Stonestreet; 22. Hau Tapuha

Warriors squad:1. Nicoll-Klokstad; 2. Kosi; 3. Vailea; 4. Pompey; 5. Montoya; 6. Volkman; 7. Johnson; 8. Fonua-Blake; 9. Egan; 10. Afoa; 11. Ford; 12. Niukore; 13. Harris (c); 14. Walker; 15. Sironen; 16. Tevaga; 17. Ale; 18. Curran; 19. Tuaupiki; 20. Lussick; 21. Berry; 22. Sifakula


 

Cameron Laing
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